Lowell Police offer free Youth Boxing Club

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LOWELL — The Lowell Police Department is offering a free Youth Boxing Club for any city resident age 10 to 18.

Participants will learn about boxing from volunteer coaches and mentors, including legendary Lowell boxing trainer Jackie O’Neill, as well as improve physical fitness, confidence and coordination.

“I want to thank all of the Lowell Police Department personnel who volunteer their time to this effort, as well as all of the community partners who have supported our efforts to offer healthy and fun opportunities like the Youth Boxing Club to Lowell youth,” said former Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson, who retired Thursday. “Boxing is a great way to channel energy, learn self-defense and to get exercise while building relationships between youth and police officers.”

Lowell Police employees who staff the program include Officer Dominic Lessiuer and retired city employee Keith Rudy, both former Golden Gloves champions, as well as retired Officer Billy Callahan, Officers Emmanuel Antonetty, Jonathan Rivera, Alec Golner, Christal Downs and Emaly Bouasri and Sgt. Mike Marshall.

The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. and from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. For now, the club will meet at the Doughboy Wrestling Club, 171 Lincoln St., but the city has issued a request for proposals for a permanent home. Organizers are seeking to lease 3,000 to 6,000 square feet of commercial space in Lowell where a full-sized boxing ring can be set up.

The club is organized by the Lowell Police Youth Services Program, which creates opportunities for youth in the city to participate in free after-school activities, athletics and other ventures that emphasize health and wellness while also experiencing positive interactions with police officers.

Lilian Lebron, whose son, Liam, is in the club, said it helps him expend energy and provides a physical benefit, as he is in physical therapy for a condition affecting his feet.

“My favorite thing is the exercising,” Liam said.

“It’s a wonderful program. It’s great for the kids to get all the physical activity, but it also goes beyond the physical part, because the police officers act as coaches and mentors and encourage the kids to work hard, exercise, and to build confidence,” said parent Clarivel Dragas. “Plus the program is free. I think it’s great opportunity for police to build relationships and to be wonderful members of the community.”

Dragas’ daughter, Lucia, is a member of the Lowell Police Citizens Advisory Committee and hopes to one day become a police officer. She said she joined the club to learn self-defense, get exercise and build relationships with the police officers.

“It’s also just a really fun setting,” Lucia said. “Just about every time I come here there’s something funny that happens. It’s very enjoyable.”

Club member Israel Armstead said he likes that the club gives young people an opportunity to be active and stay out of trouble.

“I like that it gives you a good workout and it keeps you busy,” he said. “I like all the moving around and the jumping.”

“We are excited to offer these opportunities for Lowell youth to stay in shape, build confidence, and to form positive, trusting relationships with police officers,” said newly promoted interim Superintendent Barry Golner. “The Lowell Police Department invites all youth in the city to check out the programs we have on offer.”

For more information on joining the Youth Boxing Club, email LPDYouthServices@lowellma.gov.

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